Ailie Blunnie

Songwriter :: Singer :: Musician

Olympics, women, the impact of hormone fluctuations and menstruation ..and other musings.

Posted by on Aug 13, 2016

Olympics, women, the impact of hormone fluctuations and menstruation ..and other musings.

Howaya! I’ve been glued to the Olympic gymnastics this week. The power, strength, speed, flexibility, balance, stamina, coordination, control, determination, grace, resilience, fearlessness.. Such full and complete athleticism. It would take your breath away. Brought back how mad I was about gymnastics when I did it too. God.. when I think of it.. I was tiny. But powerful. We all were. I remember.. when you’d say you were a gymnast back then, you’d sometimes get an ‘aw that’s lovely’ sort of response, and I remember.. my mam used to laugh and tell them not to be fooled – we were strong as horses. And we were. It’s a fantastic sport.. with benefits from the earliest stages. (I was only competing at a very local level) And then I remembered something else – the dread of the big THING coming. Your period. Aunt Flow. Your monthly visitor. The week of doom.. Christ, what were we going to do when all that happened? ..and us in leotards. Would I be able to wear pads?.. Tampons were scary things and caused Toxic Shock Syndrome according to the label – was I willing to die for my sport? ..what if the string thing popped out..? Aaagh, I’m eleven – I don’t like this! The very idea struck terror into me. This was pre-Google, so we couldn’t really look stuff up, and as for asking anyone – not a chance!   #Morto So I think most of us kept quiet and just hoped we’d be among those lucky late-starters. I remember once hearing that one of the Ballina girls had started, and the response was like the girl had just been given hours to live. Horror! The poor thing. Career over! She was, maybe, 13. Sure we hadn’t a clue. Anyway, I took some time this morning to look up how people were dealing with this now, and how female athletes at all levels were managing their monthly cycles. The main thing I wanted to find out was if and how hormone fluctuations were affecting their mental health and physical performance, and also, the practical question of how to deal with periods with a million cameras on you. This isn’t an area I’ve any great insight into (biology/biopsychology), so it’s amateur dabbling at its best, but from what I could gather, the subject hasn’t been that widely discussed or studied yet – something I’m sure will...

Read More

June, July, and happily ever after

Posted by on Jul 2, 2016

June, July, and happily ever after

Hello, It’s July, oh my. I’m kind of jealous of Mundy for writing that song. Every year, there it is on the radio. But what do they say, Freud and them fellas.. that it’s better to channel your negative feelings into something more useful? Anyway, on a matter entirely unrelated, I was thinking I might name the 11 songs on my album after all the other months of the year. Track 1 (‘January’) will be bleak, with a chance of snow. Track 2, similar, a bit shorter. Track 3, a nice march in 4/4. Track 4, clean sounds, a bit showery. Track 5 – may or may not make the cut. Track 6, Summer-Lovin’ kind of vibe. —–Track 7 will be a minute’s silence out of respect for Mundy—– Track 8.. ..you get the idea. So obviously I’m going to clean up. $$$. I might even be on the Forbes list by next summer.. Having said that, I recently heard that there were over 7000 albums released in Ireland last year. Isn’t that hard to believe? The majority, I think, were Country & Irish, but it certainly makes one feel small. Very small indeed. Like a little field mouse. In a big field of field mouses. It’s going grand anyway, to get to the point. I’m still recording the songs. The ones I’m putting on this album are mostly new ones, so I’m very curious to see what you think of them, and fairly terrified in equal measure. They’re a bit more folky and raw, I think. A bit angry here and there maybe. I’m trying to make them as honest as I can. Though, in the greater scheme of things – Brexit, Orlando, Istanbul – the album doesn’t seem so big a deal. The world’s gone a bit mad, hasn’t it? What’s going to happen next? Will we just wipe ourselves out altogether, do you reckon? Or will the good win out? Where’s Ted when you need him – I have questions!* In gig news, the next one is on Friday 8th July in Athlone (The Malt House) supporting Red Empire – one of BBC America’s top picks for 2016. I’m on at 8.30/9 and you’re very welcome to come. It’s upstairs. ______ In terms of fun stuff, I’ve been loving Twitter lately. The National Geographic and Science Daily are a great follow if you’re looking to expand your...

Read More

May

Posted by on May 16, 2016

May

Hello! My God, the weather! Hasn’t it just been gorgeous? I finally got to swap my thermal leggings for the normal variety. I hope you’re well? I was on my holidays in Sligo for the last 2 weeks. I sometimes rent a cottage and head off with the piano for some concentrated sea-air-fuelled work. It went well.. enough.. I got a good 20% of what I planned to do done. Not bad! The amount of daydreaming I do though.. disaster! And driving. I just drove and drove. So many incredibly lovely places to take a spin to. Christ though, you have to be a bit careful driving aimlessly around that neck of the woods. Those roads whose signs start with the letter ‘L’.. (i.e. L17221) I suppose the ‘L’ means ‘Local road’, but I came to think upon them more as the ‘Leave the road you’re on on the peril of your life’ roads. One of them just plain turned into the sea on me (the road to Coney Island, when the tide was in). I went up to Donegal too. Across those spectacular mountains to Ardara and Portnoo (that’s where the photo above was taken*). And then home to da shtix. Tis all the shtix, I suppose, but by home, I mean Leitrim. I had a lovely quiet time in Leitrim. I didn’t realise it, but Mars was really near and bright while I was there – it still is, I think. Have a look: it’s a kind of twinkly yellow-orange-red colour. Beautiful. You can see its position here in this video, to help you locate it (accompanied by some nice Vivaldi music, which sounds hilarious). Speaking of videos, thanks a million too for all your support for my new one for “I Will Count My Blessings”. The comments and feedback have been really touching, and very much appreciated. The album’s coming along grand too: I’ve settled on ” West to the Evening Sun” as the title. It’s actually an abridged title though. The full one is “West to the Evening Sun where the Local Roads May or May Not Scare the Living Daylights Out of You”. But it won’t fit on the cover, they said. Late September is the due date! And I’ll be doing some preview gigs before that too. I’ll keep you posted. Last thing: if you’re into brain science stuff, I came across, and really enjoyed, this...

Read More

‘I Will Count My Blessings’ Video Launch Quiz

Posted by on Apr 10, 2016

‘I Will Count My Blessings’ Video Launch Quiz

Hello, To unveil my new video for “I Will Count My Blessings”, I’ve decided to throw an after-work-table-quiz-video-launch-gig-party. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but once you get past that, things start to look up. It’s going to be this Thursday (14th) in The Mercantile Basement in the city centre and the whole event is from 6 to 7.30pm. The new video will screen at 7pm, followed by a short acoustic set of songs from my forthcoming album, “West to the Evening Sun”. To start off the evening, there’s going to be a mini-quiz all about music. This is at 6, and participation is by donation with proceeds from the night going to Samaritans. If you want to come, all you need to do is click here and press ‘register’ and I will duly lay a table out for all your table-quiz needs! It’s going to be good fun – I’ve been brushing up on my ability to sing one-song’s-lyrics to another-song’s-tune just to drive you all mental trying to think of the answers! I really hope you like the video. It’s directed and produced by Alan Markey, and it’ll be live on my YouTube channel from Thursday evening, April 14th. I got to wear my favourite woolly hat for a lot of it which made me extremely happy. Speaking of which, you know what I did the other day.. I was thinking idly about the whole idea of success and what it is, and then a little more idly still about those “tips for becoming more successful” pages on the internet and stuff.. and I was feeling fairly grand at the time.. no major catastrophes.. pretty content with my lot in life, so I decided to look up “how do you know when you are successful” out of curiosity, – as in, what does it feel like when all these tips have worked and you’re a bonafide fully successful person.. – and you know what.. feck all on the internet about it. Hardly anything. I don’t know why that surprised me, but it really did. A few nice suggestions I came across though, were: – your relationships with people are less dramatic than they used to be – you don’t complain much – you can celebrate other people’s successes What do ye reckon? Are little things like that the best measures of success? Not that you need to worry anyway,...

Read More

365 + 1 = Leap Year

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016

365 + 1 = Leap Year

Well! How are things? I hope you’re well this lovely Leap Day. I hadn’t realised it was a Leap Year till about a week ago. A whole other day.. to go maaad. I’ve been weighing up my options for who to propose to. It’s nice to have a say in these matters sometimes.. There are three main contenders at the moment. There’s old Mr Brennan – current forerunner – coz who doesn’t like to propose a toast? There’s the Sea, coz if anyone knows how to propose a motion.., and there’s.. well.. you, coz what do you propose to do about it? That’s it at this stage. Standby. __________ I have to say I’d a lovely relaxing weekend wandering around the city in the icy February weather. I love this time of year. Have you noticed the clouds these days? I don’t normally pass that much heed of them, but it’s been really bright and sunny when I’ve got home from work and I’ve been doing a bit of sky-gazing. I was trying to remember the names of the different types of clouds from school. I think we only ever learned three – nimmulous, communilimbus, and stratocasticus. Or something.. It turns out there are loads of them, and lots of combinations of each. Some of the images I came across have been just beautiful – look at these.. wouldn’t they take your breath away? I found a Cloud Appreciation Society on my cyber-travels too, which I was half-thinking I might join. (If only to find a husband to propose to within the year) In music news, I’m not performing much lately because I’m recording, but I have a nice gig coming up on 12th March –  a solo support slot in The Cobblestone (for Steve Duffy, who is brilliant). Here’s the details. What else? Oh, this is nice: if you’re not convinced by the stretch in the evenings yet, and find the nights are making you feel a bit blue, take a minute to make your surroundings as cosy as possible. Think of each of your senses and make a conscious effort to spoil them like there’s no tomorrow. There’s a Norwegian word, ‘koselig’, (roughly, a state of cosy kindness*) which research suggests could have a part to play in relatively low rates of Seasonal Affective Disorder experienced its northernmost residents.** I propose a toast to that! Have a lovely day, Ailie...

Read More

Album update, and January news

Posted by on Jan 20, 2016

Album update, and January news

Hello! How’re ya? I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and New Year and got to do some relaxing. Seems like a good while ago now – even though it’s only been 3 weeks. January can feel lonnnng! I had 3 weeks off work. One of the perks of TEFL teaching. I’d a nice time – getting home, seeing everyone, recording a few songs for my album, learning Saw Doctors songs for a wedding.. (that part was brilliant craic –  what a great band! #boomshakalakalaka). Funny, I realised when I was listening to them, that my impression of The Saw Doctors must almost entirely have been formed in Irish class in secondary school, when their name seemed to come up in reading-comprehensions more than could really have been necessary. I remember, the texts always seemed to be taken from ‘Mahogony Gaspipe’ – does anyone remember Mahogony Gaspipe?? It was a magazine in Irish. I’m fairly sure it didn’t have anything to do with gas or pipes – just entertainment and stuff – but I must never have fully shaken the plumbing associations, coz to this day, if you say ‘Saw Doctors’, I think ‘cisterns’. Isn’t it amazing how strong your first impressions of things can be?* Speaking of which, I’m hoping yours, of this new album I’m making, will be positive +++++ [subliminal visual priming in operation] I’m really excited about it! It feels like such a privilege really.. to be living at a time when recording your own album is a thing.. that you can do. I’m nearly finished recording the songs at this stage. A bit more time to edit and mix the music, then it’s onto the visuals (CD cover etc), and then, it’s ready to go! I’m planning an autumn release date (August/September) and am looking at venues at the moment. Any favourites around the country? There’s no gig too small (or big, haha!). I’d love your ideas.. house concerts, hotel rooftops, bingo halls, hot air balloons.. mad as you like, get in touch.** I think that’s almost it for now. Oh wait, no! Some ideas for you! #1 You know when it’s hard to get yourself out the door..? (e.g. for a walk, to work, to the shop): – imagine that the whole house is going to burn down in 5 seconds flat if you don’t put on your runners and get outta there in a...

Read More